Influencer marketing: what is it and how to make it work for you? - Part 2

Brand Minds


In part 1, we’ve explained what an influencer is and how influencer marketing works. But I’m sure you want to know if it’s really effective and how it can actually help you.

What are the benefits?

An influencer will speak about the pros and cons of your products, but in such a way as coming off far more credible and useful than any traditional ad could do. It is important to realize that it is the influencers who have built their audience. It is not accidental that fans follow influencers and not the brand. By reading a post, the audience cares much more about the influencer’s opinion of your product than about your brand. 

When done right, brands have much to gain by engaging in influencer marketing. It’s a strategy that leverages the influencer’s reach, credibility and salesmanship to advocate a product to consumers, which results in awareness, improved perception and action (or conversion). Working with the right influencers can have a multitude of positive effects on your brand:

  • Accepted advertising: perhaps the biggest benefit of social influencer marketing is that it’s not pushy. Consumers are tired and frustrated with traditional advertisements being displayed over and over again, but they willingly opt to follow influencers, so they are eager to view their content. Therefore, content shared by an influencer does not seem like spam. And even if an influencer posts sponsored content, they won’t mind that much as long as it is done aesthetically.
  • Niche Targeting: influencer marketing allows you to attract and sell to a target audience that is extremely likely to be interested in your product. By selecting the right influencers, you’re able to reach a specific persona. • Improving SEO Ranking: working with influencers is a great way to generate traffic to your website through quality backlinks. Not only will this help boost traffic, but influencer posts about your brand also boost your site ranking.
  • Online engagement: anyone who has tried social media knows that the key is engagement. Connecting with the customers, creating interesting content and having other social media accounts post about the business – an influencer ticks all those boxes. Influencer-created content is often perceived as more authentic because it comes from real people who are also authority figures. Such content often drives more engagement in terms of likes and comments. 
  • Improving brand awareness: being top-of-mind when people are scrolling down their social media feed is always important. And if an influencer’s fan community likes the content, they are more likely to share it within their own networks. This helps you take your content to an even larger audience and in turn, enhance brand awareness.
  • Cost effective: even though social influencer marketing is truly effective, it continues to be comparatively inexpensive to other marketing methods. While there is no one-size-fits all pricing, many marketers adhere to the one cent per follower rule (for example $100 for 10K followers). When you compare that to a 30-second spot broadcast in the US for around $115,000 or a 30-second Super Bowl ad for $5.25 million, social media marketing sounds pretty cheap right now, right?


How to identify the right influencer for you?

The success of your influencer marketing campaign depends on the influencers you choose to collaborate with, and their ability to help you drive conversions. 

When selecting an influencer, you should keep the following key factors in mind. The higher these factors, the higher the influencing potential of an individual:

  • Reach: The more followers, the great the campaign reach. If you’re looking for brand awareness, better go with the influencer with the most followers, but if you’re looking for conversion and engagement, reach is important but insufficient. You should then prefer those with higher engagement rates, like some of the micro-influencers.
  • Relevance: to reach your target audience, it’s crucial that the influencer’s niche be relevant to your business. In addition, the content style and personality of the influencer should align with your brand’s image. Otherwise, his followers won’t take any interest in your products or services and your brand reputation may even be damaged by association.
  • Contextual credibility: the level of trust and authority given by the audience based on the influencer's perceived knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. Again, a chef will have high credibility in recommending meals but low credibility in politics, for example. 
  • Salesmanship: there are some influencers who seem to have an extraordinary power to convince people of their point of view. They have an ability to explain things in convincing ways, are clear with their messages and deliver their points of view with confidence.
  • Engagement: once you have spotted an influencer, take a look at the comments section to understand how the audience engages with the content. Are there a lot of likes and comments? How often are these posts shared by followers? You should also evaluate the manner in which the influencer interacts with their fans.
  • Platform: certain influencers are more apt for specific social media platforms. In order to select the right influencers, you need to determine which platform is best suited to your brand and then select a successful influencer on that same platform. For instance, if you are looking to reach out to photographers, Instagram would be a good choice, but if you’re looking to reach out to professional HRs, LinkedIn would be preferable. 
The more effective an influencer is in each of these factors, the better the results will be for your brand. But this may also mean more expensive. Micro-influencers can then be a saviour for small businesses and brands with small budgets, since their engagement rate is usually higher than average. You need to evaluate which key points are more relevant for your strategy and then find the best fit. To then start a conversation with the influencers, you can contact specialized agencies or look them up on their social media account and try contacting them directly. 

Instagram


Some questions have been raised concerning the durability of the concept, especially after a few events such as the Fyre Festival. This incidence shows how powerful influencer marketing can be and that brand managers and influencers will have to be more cautious from now on. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission warned them to clearly identify when they are promoting products on Instagram in return for payment. Different possibilities are accepted such as adding the hashtag #ad or using the “Paid partnership with” function

If you haven’t included influencer marketing in your strategy, now you have the tools to decide if you should. And if you have but haven’t had the results you were looking for, then it may be time to reassess your strategy based on the key factors mentioned above. The importance and power of influencer marketing today can be an opportunity for your business, regardless of its size and niche.


A The Consultancy Group article, written by Justine Gilliot

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